Deborah Ross - Testimony
I was born August 10, 1962, and would be the only child my parents birthed together. While those nine years of living with my biological Mom & Dad were a little rocky at times, still, this was my family and I loved both my Mom and Dad greatly. I had BIG DREAMS for my future. I felt special.
Unfortunately, by the time I was nine years old, my world fell apart when my parents announced they were getting a divorce. Honestly, I had no idea what that really meant at nine years of age. I thought it would just be for a little while... not forever. As I slowly began to realize that my family would never be the same, I began to feel abnormal. I would watch other "families" live out their daily lives and secretly grieve for a home in the comfort of my Daddy and my Mommy.
My mother remarried that next year with hopes of having the ideal family she'd always dreamed of. Within one year of saying good-bye to my Dad, I now lived with a strange man and his son. My step-father was very good to me. He provided for my every need. Still, he wasn't my Daddy, and my heart ached for things to be like they once were. Many years passed as this "dysfunctional dreamer" went on to become a chief cheerleader, star dance student, class beauty, and pageant queen. Yet inside, I felt like I was the most awkward and unwanted girl on the planet. By this time, I had become accustomed to seeing my "real dad" only once a year.
As a lost teenager with no direction, I began to party with my friends. Although I never really enjoyed getting high, I would participate as a way to be part of the group. I desperately wanted to bask in my father's love so I substituted his arms for those of teen-aged boys. I compromised my purity, my character and my reputation in an effort to medicate my secret pain.
Still, in the depths of my soul, I had a dream to become someone great. Underneath all of my insecurities, I felt there was a giant trying to break free. So, in the eleventh grade I begged to leave all of the high school drama behind and finish my senior year at the NC School of the Arts. My goals, however, seemed too outrageous for small town thinkers. Many convinced me to open a dance studio and stay put for at least another year so that I could finish high school - like everyone else.
So, just before my senior year of high school, and at the tender age of sixteen, I started my first dance and modeling studio named Deb's Dance Galore. I really believe that my new job adventure was only meant to be a "pacifier" that was strongly suggested by family and friends to keep "the dreamer" occupied until after graduation. Unfortunately, once graduation passed, "the dreamer" was left behind as high school friends left for college and I was stuck paying off the bank for the small loan I assumed to start my new business. A few years passed as my love for teaching dance gradually grew cold and my zeal for life faded into deep depression. I wondered how I ended up in such a small town, teaching dance to a small clientele, when all I ever wanted to do was to develop my talents and use them on the BIG STAGE.
Never-the-less, within a few short years, my business grew to three locations with over twelve employees. I renamed my business early-on as D & S Talent Dance & Modeling Studios. I attribute the growth of my business to the words that my "real dad" spoke to me at one of our yearly visitations when he said, "Why are you worried about going to college to get an education or a trade when you already have a unique talent. You are making good money, probably more than many college graduates will ever make. Your friends are going to college to learn a trade. You already have one!" That's all it took. The power of his words of encouragement restored my vision, or perhaps, redirected my vision. For the rest of my twenty year career, I was the Artistic Director of three nationally acclaimed dance and modeling studios and managed over twelve employees.
Still, with all of my success, accolades and money, I had a hole in my heart. That "hole" was not filled until I met Jesus as my Savior - and the Lord of my life - at the age of twenty-seven.
Shortly after my radical conversion, the Lord spoke to me in an audible voice saying, "Deborah, I love you. I want you to be all mine." Even though I didn't understand what it meant to be called into ministry (and no one ever bothered to help me understand, since I was a woman), I felt in my heart that I was, indeed, called of the Lord. At that time in my life's journey all I knew was the dance studio business. So, I equated being "all His" in ministry to changing my business from secular to Christian.
In a time when dance was considered taboo in many churches, I completely dedicated the last seven years of my business to the Lord as dance classes were taught to Christian music, Bible studies were implemented, recitals became presentations of the gospel, and many souls were saved. In addition, I launched the Shekinah Glory Ministry Team of dancers, singers and musicians who toured the east coast introducing many churches, dance studio owners, and dance competition directors to "dance ministry." Many facets of my studio outreach continued to bring the lost to Christ.
Eventually, I began to sense the Lord saying, "Give it all up, Deborah. Your destiny is not behind the scenes in the dance studio business, anymore. I want you to be on My BIG STAGE, just as you dreamed of as a child! You will speak for Me. You will sing for Me. But first, you must be willing to leave the ninety-nine, NOW, and go after the one (meaning my husband who was still lost). Trust Me, Deborah."
Honestly, I was reluctant to move on this command because I could not imagine ever being smart enough to do anything other than what I had always done. Plus, I was the bread winner. How would our family survive? In addition, many moms relied on me as their child's "Christian" professional dance teacher. Never-the-less, in an effort to be obedient, I did sell two of my three dance studios as the Lord commanded.
It was very difficult, however, for me to follow through with complete obedience in selling my third - and final - dance studio. So after selling my other two businesses, I made a fleece with the Lord. I told the Lord, "You will have to take my last studio from me. It is just too hard for me to 'surrender all'. I am willing to give my last studio business up; I am just not able to promote the selling of it. Help me, Lord!"
And, you know what? ... He did!
From here, my story goes into my marriage testimony. This is where the death of all of my dreams - including what looked like my marriage - took place. I call this the SHAKEDOWN of my life. It is also my story of how God launched me into destiny as His healing, restoration, saving, forgiving and resurrection power brought me to where I am today. (You can read more of my story in my book, Healing a Broken Marriage.)
I now feel the Love of a Father. I am whole and my family is whole! I am believing that generations after me (my children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and so on...) will be whole, as well, because of the promises of God that I hold dear to my heart. I have a fiery determination to preach the gospel to the saving of souls, to the saving of families and to the saving of the dreamers. My husband, also, is now a born-again, spirit-filled man of God who preaches the gospel regularly - in addition to his full time career as a professional realtor. Thus, in 2007 the DRM website was launched and in August of 2010, DRM became an official 501 c 3 nonprofit organization.
I have to admit, becoming an author is a component of my journey that God totally surprised me with! But, Glory to God, (like Joseph) He has now brought this dreamer to the appointed time of destiny. In this NOW SEASON of my life and with every beat of my heart, I want to use my life (gifts, talents, time, resources, testimony, knowledge, and zeal) to encourage others who, like me, have experienced the pit for far too long.
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